Irish entrepreneur Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp is buying eight British regional stations, “Smooth”, “Real” and “Capital”, from Global Radio, his first move into the industry in the UK.
Competition authorities said Global, which owns the Capital, Heart and Classic FM networks, had to sell stations in seven areas of Britain where it dominated the radio ad market as a result of it buying GMG Radio in 2012, noted Reuters.
The deal, valued at $57 million, according to a Reuters source, will make Communicorp the fourth-largest commercial radio group in the UK.
The stations have 2.8 million combined listeners, according to Radio Joint Audience Research, Communicorp said. The eight stations are Smooth East Midlands, Smooth North West, Smooth North East, Capital Scotland, Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester.
Communicorp said it planned to rebrand the “Real” stations under the “Heart” franchise, and relaunch the Smooth stations with local programming.